This is a common question, so you are not alone in worrying about this. Obviously the banks will not allow access to your relative’s funds until the Grant of Probate has been issued (unless the amount held within the account is under certain limits – in which case they may accept a death certificate and signed indemnity). This can make executors worry about how to pay for the funeral or whether they will have to fund it themselves.
The good news is that, in most estates, this is not the case. When you get the funeral invoice, if you take it down to the bank where the deceased held his money and give it to them, together with an original death certificate, they will either draw a cheque or transfer funds directly to the funeral director. This will also usually be done for any arrangements relating to the wake, although this is at the discretion of individual banks.
A similar procedure can be followed to pay any inheritance tax due. For more information on this, please see my article on paying inheritance tax.
If you are acting as executor and are worried about paying for any liabilities of the estate, please contact me today for a free consultation.